Biden Tells Media To Defend Him—And They Oblige

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
September 14, 2023

The White House on Wednesday sent out a memo instructing the press to "ramp up its scrutiny" of House Republicans' impeachment probe of President Joe Biden. Mainstream media outlets quickly complied with the directive.

In addition to doubling down on their longstanding skepticism of the GOP investigations of Biden family corruption, the media uncritically repeated the White House's criticism of them—and in many cases explicitly agreed with it.

NBC News: "In a memo to news organizations, the administration rebutted seven Republican claims and called the impeachment inquiry 'all politics and no evidence.' …

"McCarthy does not appear to have the full support of his party and has faced criticism for the lack of evidence in GOP allegations of the president's wrongdoings. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on [White House spokesman Ian] Sams' memo."

CNN: "While news organizations have published innumerable fact checks on the matter, they have also often failed to robustly call out the mis- and disinformation peddled by Republicans in their coverage, frustrating officials in the Biden White House who believe that the news media should be doing more to dispel lies that saturate the public discourse. …

"The Republican House-led investigations into Biden have yet to provide any direct evidence that the president financially benefited from [his son] Hunter Biden's career overseas."

Axios: "Our thought bubble: The White House is clearly frustrated that media outlets are not pointing out more clearly that House investigations have turned up no evidence suggesting any impeachable behavior on [Joe] Biden's part."

Politico: "On the official side: Ian Sams, the spokesman for the White House Counsel's Office, has hit the cable airwaves and separately distributed a 14-page appendix chock full of in-depth rebuttals to Republicans' claims. …

"The White House's overarching goal is to make sure there's not a vacuum in which Republican talking points fester in the public psyche. Folks around Biden have criticized the media for not doing enough to knock down, in the words of a person close to the campaign, 'lies about President Biden'—indeed, Sams sent a memo to media orgs on this very topic. They see their own role as filling that supposed void."

Only a handful of journalists outside conservative media pushed back on the White House for trying to bully them.

Meanwhile, the media were at least as dismissive of the Republicans' impeachment inquiry, announced Tuesday, as they had been of the preceding GOP probes of the president's involvement in Hunter Biden's influence-peddling.

Associated Press: "The White House has said that Joe Biden was not involved in his son's business affairs. And so far, despite months of investigations, Republicans have unearthed no significant evidence of wrongdoing by the elder Biden, who spoke often to his son and as vice president did stop by a business dinner with his son's associates. Hunter Biden is not a public figure."

CNN: "The key question heading into the third impeachment effort in three and a half years should be whether this attempt to effectively reverse a democratic election by ousting [Joe] Biden is justified. The GOP failure so far to provide much more than innuendo—that Biden corruptly used his power while vice president to profit from his son Hunter's business ventures—suggests it is not."

Time: The White House and Democratic leaders "have been laser-focused this week on the argument that Republicans are trying to make Biden only the fourth president to be impeached without evidence to back up their claims."

PBS: "So you have heard the Republican justification for this inquiry. Despite a lack of public evidence and no floor vote, as Speaker McCarthy had promised…"

In her New York Post column on Thursday night, columnist Miranda Devine summarized some of the evidence that her colleagues in the mainstream media deny exists:

Forget the bank records, shell companies, SEC complaints, sworn testimony, IRS whistleblower statements, FBI informant files, emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, photos, speakerphone calls, voicemails, White House visitor logs, Air Force Two travel logs, Joe's pseudonymous email addresses and a parade of Hunter's shady foreign benefactors lining up for handshakes with Joe in Beijing, breakfasts at the VP's residence and dinners at Café Milano, not to mention millions of dollars in filthy foreign lucre for no discernible product or service other than access to Joe.